Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oregon Summer Comes to an End

As I write this, Autumn begins in two more days.  I love this time of the year more than any other.  I must say I am glad summer is almost behind me.  Hot weather depresses me and makes me want to do as little as possible.  The good thing about October is the Indian Summer it brings to the Pacific Northwest…..warm days and cool or cold nights.  Great for getting out and about and great sleeping weather.  I will always look forward to my second best season, Spring and all the beautiful wildflowers.

I have been pretty busy the past three months.  I have spent a number of weeks helping my friends, Don and Margie, remodel their bathroom and kitchen.  It actually was way more work than I wanted to do but they needed the help and I am always in favor of helping my friends.

Other than that, I spent some family time with my sons and the grandkids and Pati’s brother and sister.  I was also able to spend some quality time with my best friends, Jeff and Letty and Yanni and Josie.  I am so fortunate to have great friends in my life.

A Difficult Decision

I made a major decision while here in Oregon.  I decided to lay Pati to rest at Willamette National Cemetery. It has been over two years since her death and I have been greedily keeping her with me while traveling around the country.  I finally realized I needed to let go and let her rest in peace in a beautiful place with that will also be shared as my final resting place. 

Willamette National Cemetery is beautiful with green manicured grass and tall fir trees.  It is located in a suburb of Portland called Happy Valley and on top of Mount Scott overlooking the city.  Being a National Cemetery it is very well cared for and I am honored to know we can both be there together forever. When I pass on my ashes will be placed with Pati's and a new headstone will be made to include my name etc. and I have requested the quote to read "Together Again Forever".

I visited the cemetery on Memorial Day to pay my respects to the veterans and was awe struck to see hundreds of thousands of small American Flags on every grave and lining the streets.  It made me very proud to be an American and especially proud to have served my country in uniform for twenty six years knowing this is one of the many ways I am paid back for that service.  Leaving her behind was a very hard thing for me to do but I feel good about my decision.  I will always be back each year to spend time with her.  Someday I hope to have a small home again in Central Oregon so I will be close.

Pati is located just below the group of trees to the left of center.  The dry looking area is being replanted with sod as is the bare looking area where Pati is.
They are still putting sod around the headstones.  This was taken Oct 1st when I visited her.  It would have been her 68th birthday.  I always bought her red roses for her birthday and I always will as long as I live.
One of many lighthouses along the Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast Time

I have tried to spend lots of time on the coast of Oregon this summer because it has been so warm inland.  The coast is usually in the upper 60’s to 70’s in the summer and sometimes even cooler.   The worse thing about the coast is the crowds.  It seems the whole world is here and trying to find a place to stay is very difficult.

Lots of noisy Sea Lions

Roosevelt Elk at a wildlife viewing area just off the coast

Dungeness Crab Feast



I was staying at Lighthouse State Park near Winchester Bay when my RV neighbor across the lane came over and introduced himself.  He was a retired Coastee also so we chatted a bit and he asked me if I wanted some crab.  He and a friend just came back from crabbing and had a very good day.  Of course I said yes but I didn't expect him to boil them too!  What a nice treat that was!

Casinos and New Friends

I had some truck problems as I was driving along the coast road, which is hilly and curvy and not the best place to have a problem.  My turbo hose kept blowing off the metal manifold for some reason and my battery light and check engine light both stayed on.  Well.....after some stressful mechanical work along the side of the road, I limped into Lincoln City and stopped at the Chinook Winds Casino where I met these two guys, Lance and Ralph.  Ralph is a talker and told me his friends call his Ralph the Mouth!  Both nice guys.

Lance made that strange bike.

I mention these guys because it was my lucky day to have met them.  Lance is a backyard mechanic and he took over and helped me fix my problems.  I had to replace the alternator and we re-set the turbo hose and sprayed some penetrating oil on all contacts etc plus he even helped me repair a problem with my steps and my floor.  Lots of good came during that week in the parking lot.....which is free.

Ralph is a disabled Vietnam vet and gave me a lot of information about disability claims and Vietnam where we both were during the Agent Orange problem.  He is a character for sure!

I enjoyed both of their company and actually spent a few more days with Ralph and his wife at another casino called Spirit Mountain, where I boon docked for over two weeks.  I am not a big gambler and I don’t care for smoke filled places with lots of people but the price is right……free!  Most of the casinos will let you stay in their parking lots for free is you are using the casino.  Actually, I haven’t lost a dine yet and have been up and down but I am still ahead at this point by about fifty dollars.

I especially like the Spirit Mountain casino located in Grand Rhond, about fifty miles inland from the coast.  It is not as windy or cold and the RV parking lot is well lit, level and patrolled by security all the time, plus it has a dump station and fresh water station.  I have to watch myself because the food is excellent and fairly priced.  Every Tuesday and Friday I get a coupon for $3 off any food item so that’s when I treat myself.

I am getting some good use out of my smaller generator since there is no power or water hook-ups.  I wish I could cost justify putting on solar panels but it is not in the budget just yet.  If I decide to stay out here after next summer, I will probably have some installed.  Just enough to let me watch some tv for a few hours without having the generator going.  Speaking of tv, I just treated myself to the full season of Breaking Bad on DVD.  I never watched that show because I don’t have direct tv or cable.  After it won all the awards I decided to buy them for when I don’t have a tv signal….like right now.  It sure is a great show.

Other Tidbits

I got a great report from my doctor during my annual physical.  All is good and better than last year, other than I still need to lose a few pounds...ok fine....about 25 pounds!  I have always worried about having another heart attack but he showed me that my numbers are well within the limits and my risk of having another heart attack is only eight out of a hundred.  Pretty good odds, at least in that category, since I see the positive side as there is a 92% chance I won't have a heart attack!  Makes me happy.

Where to from here...............

Tomorrow is October 3rd and I have to vacate my beautiful spot at Champoegue State Park.  I am not sure where to go but I think I will spend two more weeks in Central Oregon, Bend area, and then head south from there towards California and the east side of the Sierra Nevadas.   I may even go back through Death Valley and over to Las Vegas.   I had planned on Texas via Montana etc but the weather is too unpredictable this year to go north and east.  So, I will go south and east and maybe hang out in New Mexico awhile.....I like New Mexico.

Getting ready for some BBQ salmon steak the other day.....the rain stopped and it is bright and sunny today!

This evening my son Jason and his wife Anna and my two little grandkids, Kaiten and Shawn are coming over for some Grandpa time and grilled chicken so I need to get this place cleaned the kids can mess it up again!

Happy Trails to everyone...............see you down the road.